Two local school districts asking for residents to vote ‘Yes’

Levies to either stay the same or decrease

 By Tina SnellStaff Writer

Two school districts in the Morrison County Record’s readership area will be asking its residents to vote “Yes” on a Nov. 5 ballot to renew referendum levies.

Staples Motley is asking two questions on the ballot. The first is to maintain the current offerings in the district without asking for more money through local property taxes. The renewal of the 10-year-old referendum levy will be payable in 2014 and will help pay for student technology needs, school buses, classroom supplies, smaller class sizes and textbooks. It will remain at $285.25 per pupil.

If question 1 doesn’t pass, Staples Motley will receive about $376,000 less in operating revenue each year and budget cuts will be inevitable.

Question 2 asks for an additional $185 per student and will also be applicable for 10 years, beginning with taxes payable in 2014.

The $244,000 generated will be used to increase the career and vocational offerings at the middle and high school levels. Opportunities such as science, technology, engineering and technical math, woods, welding, construction, manufacturing and machining courses will be offered.

If question 2 doesn’t pass, career and vocational education classes will not be expanded within the district.

Both these referendum revenue authorizations would increase each year by the rate of inflation.

Question 2 is contingent upon question 1 passing.

Property with a market value of $150,000 will have no increase in its levy dollars for question 1, and if question 2 passes, the school district portion of the property tax statement would see a $46.19 increase.

Supt. Mark Schmitz said that won’t happen. The school district will keep local property taxes the same if one or both questions are approved. The district will lower its other levies to ensure there is no further impact to district residents.

Staples Motley District will receive about $517,000 from the state.

For residents living in the city of Staples and surrounding townships and towns in both Todd County and Wadena counties, voting will take place at the Staples Motley High School in Staples.

For residents in the city of Motley and the surrounding townships in Cass and Morrison counties, voting will take place at the Motley Elementary and Middle School.

In Little Falls, one question will be on the ballot. The district is asking for a renewal of the 2004 referendum authority, payable beginning in 2015, to maintain the operations it has offered for the past nine years.

If passed, the district will continue receiving the $2.5 million annually it has for the past nine years.

Because the state will be paying a higher percentage of district’s referendum revenues, Little Falls residents will pay less on the school district portion of their property taxes than they have been since 2004. Yet, the district will receive the same amount of money.

Property with a market value of $150,000 would see a decrease of $79 on the school levy portion of its property taxes.

Residents of the Little Falls School District and living on the east side of the city will vote at the Little Falls Community Middle School. Residents on the west side of the city will vote at Lincoln Elementary School and those residing in Randall will vote at Dr. S.G. Knight Elementary School.